Democratic Rep. Bob Brady is Philadelphia's own Nucky Thompson. He's famous for his patronage and back-door deals, but because the personable Brady has gone out of his way for the past few decades to curry favor with the local journalism establishment, he's rarely called out on it. I wish they ran stories like this before the election, and not after, because it's high past time our state moved to merit selection for judges:
Newly elected Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas M. Nocella credits U.S. Rep. Bob Brady - Philadelphia's Democratic Party boss - for intervening with ward leaders to put him on the ticket.
"He is the one in control," said Nocella, 67, rated qualified for the bench by the Philadelphia Bar Association, despite having been sanctioned by the city Ethics Commission in 2009.
He pointed out that he had done years of free legal work for the party and said the judgeship was his reward. "That's the way it's done in Pennsylvania," he said.
On Jan. 2, he will begin drawing a $165,000 judicial salary. Nocella welcomes the new income because there is a $358,000 IRS lien against him, the state says he ignored local taxes for years, and he has more than $1 million in debts listed in a bankruptcy case.
He is also embroiled in a Common Pleas Court lawsuit accusing him of fraud and deceit in 2005, when he helped sell off property for $507,500 that was owned by a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Manayunk. The property, overlooking the Schuylkill and large enough to hold 10 townhouses, is four blocks up the hill from Manayunk's main shopping area.
Testifying under oath in a deposition, Nocella admitted that he pocketed $60,000 as a consequence of signing a title-company document stating he was the secretary of Straughter-Carter Post 6627 - although he acknowledged that he was never a VFW member and was not authorized to act as secretary.
He called it an "accommodation" and said that without his signature, the deal would not have gone through.
His lawyer, Samuel C. Stretton, said that Nocella's role in the property sale "was one of the stupider things he did" and that he would probably have to cough up some money as restitution to the VFW.
By the way, Judge Nocella, congratulations!
One of the biggest welfare programs in this country's history, the GI Bill, benefited a lot of white folks after World War II. Because of it many of them were able to buy their first homes, (Google Levittown, Pennsylvania when you get a chance) and they had their college tuition paid for by a thankful and generous government.
Buying those homes helped to establish generational wealth to many of these people, and it helped to set up their children and grandchildren so that they, too, could chase the A-merry-can dream.
Please stay with me, I am talking about welfare for a reason.
Unfortunately, not all of A-merry-ca's citizens were able to benefit from this wonderful government sponsored program. And, sadly, they gave and sacrificed blood sweat and tears in World War II as well.
So why am I talking about welfare tonight?
Because of folks like Derek Howard. A man so Ignorant and misguided that he allowed his bigotry to get in the way of his better judgement.
"As reported by the Kansas City Star and KCTV News, among other outlets, Marcus Williams Sr. and his son, Marcus Williams Jr., filed a racial harassment suit against the Winnetonka School District after Winnetonka (Kan.) High basketball coach Derek Howard called the younger Williams a "future welfare recipient" while the student was posing for a picture in a school hallway, then repeated the comments while Williams filmed him on his cell phone.
Here's how Marcus Williams Jr. described the incident to KCTV:
"[Howard] was doing a daily jog and he stopped and he said, 'Hey, take a picture and then at the bottom: future welfare recipient,'" the student said. "I just felt belittled, crushed and utterly discouraged."According to the Williams family, Howard's comment was just the latest example of racially insensitive comments from the longtime basketball coach. The younger Williams told KCTV that he refused to try out for the school's basketball team for the 2011 season because Howard told African-American members of the team that they would grow up to be laborers who earned less than $30,000 annually. The teenager claims that he repeatedly asked the coach to stop making the insensitive comments, but that the coach ignored those pleas.
Marcus Williams said this comment was typical of those he has endured for the past two years. So he grabbed his cell phone and asked his coach to repeat his remarks.
The coach can be heard laughing and saying, "Future welfare recipient who? Students that don't get good grades."
There's more research to do, but the initial results are interesting. The pharmaceutical products have had negative impacts once the chemicals get into the water, so it wouldn't be a complete surprise if there's a link. BBC News:
But experts stress this is not proof that one causes the other and it might be a fluke finding.On a related subject, we are now in the middle of Movember. There is still time to grow a mustache for charity or find someone you know that is participating in the charity and donate for a good cause. I'm not a facial hair person so am going nuts with the scratchiness of growing it, but the charity is about raising money for men's health issues including prostate cancer.
The researchers believe oestrogen by-products excreted in the urine of pill-users may have contaminated the food chain and drinking water.
The hormone is known to feed the growth of certain cancers.
The latest investigation looked at data from 2007 for individual nations and continents worldwide to see if there was any link.
The researchers found a significant association between contraceptive pill use in the population as a whole with both the number of new cases of, and deaths from, prostate cancer.
Plus a quick note on the Zuccotti Park blitzkrieg --
DNAinfo.com caption: Sara Sitshul, 61, of Brooklyn said her son Chris O'Donnell, 23, was arrested last night. He was working in the kitchen at Occupy Wall Street. "The secrecy and organization of the arrests is just terrible."
Fortunately Howie in his late post tonight will have something to say about the storm-trooper clearing of the park undertaken under cover of darkness -- and with every effort made to minimize direct scrutiny by the outside world -- on orders from NYC's own personal plutocratic overlord, Mayor Mike. I can't tell you how much I don't want to write about this. I've been keeping up as best I can, and gathering links, and maybe will have something to say tomorrow.
Fortunately, Digby pretty well nailed the story before it happened, in a piece published yesterday on Aljazeera.com, "Militarising the police form Oakland to NYC." (The deck reads: "If the infrastructure of a police state is created, it's only a matter of time before those aggressive powers are used.") For more general information, you might try this link from cable news channel NY1, which was being updated through the day. And here's a 5:50pm ET DNAinfo.com link: "Occupy Wall Street Protesters Pour Back Into Zuccotti Park." -- Ken
I pulled out my iPhone and started shooting him at the same time he was shooting me. Then a student started shooting video of me shooting O?Keefe shooting me, which he posted on YouTube. [Note: There are lots of links onsite.]
O'Keefe was on campus looking for material for his latest ?To Catch a Journalist? segment for what he calls "Project Veritas," in which he goes after journalists for alleged misdeeds. In this case, he asked me about journalists using bad words in emails.
Gawker?s John Cook linked to the video and wrote about the incident on Thursday, which resulted in tens of thousands of people suddenly becoming aware of this. The whole thing also made the ?Worst Persons? segment on the new ?Countdown with Keith Olbermann? show on Current TV, with O?Keefe on the list.
1. IF SOMEONE AMBUSHES YOU WITH A CAMERA, AMBUSH ?EM BACK. If you get ambushed by someone with a video camera, pull out your camera phone and start filming. You end up intimidating them, not the other way around. And you have a full record of the incident, in case the other guy puts out a selectively edited version.
4. PEOPLE LIKE O?KEEFE THINK THEY ARE ACTING LIKE JOURNALISTS. They think having a camera makes them a journalist. Instead, this is a cheap caricature of journalism, down to the mic flag (you know, the ?Project Veritas? logo attached to the microphone). He shows once again that ambush interviews and selective editing don?t make you into a citizen journalist.
2. BEING EVEN IN A MINOR FIRESTORM IS IMMENSELY DISTRACTING.In connection with this last lesson, Sree writes, "Suddenly, I?ve found dozens of politics tweeters following me, including some from both extremes of the spectrum. None more famous, however, than Michelle Malkin and Andrew Breitbart." He adds, though: "I am hoping these political types, when they discover I almost never tweet about politics, will get bored and unfollow me. Let?s move along, folks, there?s nothing to see here."
3. ANYONE IN THE MEDIA CAN BE A TARGET THESE DAYS.
5. WANT MORE FOLLOWERS? BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.
(Lucas Jackson / Reuters)
The biggest story today was, of course, the police action in New York. Where to start? The mayor ignored a court order against him, the police beat up a bunch of people (including a city councilman), barred the press from the area, even barred helicopters from covering their actions, arrested numerous reporters, and cleared the park.
In a surprise early-morning action, hundreds of New York City police cleared Occupy Wall Street out of Zuccotti Park on Tuesday, arresting dozens, throwing protestors? tents into garbage trucks, and touching off a chaotic scene in lower Manhattan.
Rosie Gray, a writer for The Village Voice, recounted telling a police officer, ?I?m press!? She said the officer responded, ?Not tonight.?
I'm beginning to think this entire episode was mostly an attempt by Bloomberg to make himself look like crap for a day. If so: well played.
In other Occupy news around the country:
The Occupy Cal Day of Action is under way on the UC Berkeley campus with a noon rally in progress at the time of writing, and news helicopters aloft to cover the action. According to the BPD, an estimated 1,500 people were gathered at Sproul Plaza at midday.
[Quan] casually mentioned that she was on a conference call with leaders of 18 US cities shortly before a wave of raids broke up Occupy Wall Street encampments across the country. ?I was recently on a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation. . . .?
More doubt is being cast on a New York Post story alleging that Occupy Wall Street protesters were responsible for graffiti at the new 9/11 memorial at ground zero.
?We know of no link between Occupy protesters and acts of vandalism,? 9/11 memorial spokesman Michael Frazier tells me.
Daily Kos community members continue to contribute on-the-scene reporting from Occupy events around the country. For those and the other Occupy-related stories, follow the Occupy Wall Street group and the Occupy Wall Street tag right here on Daily Kos.
Last month, GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain answered on live television that he would trade all the terrorism suspects at the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for U.S. hostages. “I could see myself authorizing that kind of transfer,? he said. Within just a few hours, he was asked about it again, again on live television and this time during a primary debate, and he quickly recanted his original answer, explaining that he’d “misspoke.” A friendly source explained to a conservative website that Cain’s original answer “was the result of lack of sleep and doing too many media appearances.”
Now, after Cain’s inconsistent, rambling five-minute answer to a question posed by a newspaper editorial board as to whether he supported the Libya intervention, Cain’s campaign is again explaining away his bizzarre comments by blaming them on a lack of sleep. The Associated Press reports:
Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said Monday that Cain had four hours of sleep because of a busy campaign schedule when he sat for the interview. He said Cain took his time answering because the candidate wanted to make sure he was focusing on the right problem.
The Cain campaign also lashed out at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial board, with Gordon alleging that the video of Cain’s answer to the simple question (“So you agree with President Obama on [intervening in] Libya, or not?“) was “out of context in some measure.” The editor of the Journal Sentinel, Martin Kaiser, shot back on CNN today: “Trying to spin it and say it was edited or handled some other way is just not accurate.” Noting that it was a “pleasant conversation” and not a grilling, Kaiser went on:
I have to admit, quite a few of us have been in the business a long time, been through a number of these kinds of interviews, and afterwards we were really sort of stunned.
Watch the CNN interview with Kaiser here:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) ripped Cain’s answer in an interview with Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin:
There are individual candidates that need to step up their game… Each candidate has to demonstrate for the public that they’re ready for the job. And no one expects a person who hasn’t been commander-in-chief before to know everything about every topic, but Libya? I think it’s fair to ask our candidates to articulate a position. Cain has got to convince people that he’s got the depth of knowledge [to be president].
Cain, who compared U.S. foreign policy to making pizza, has been beset by a series of gaffes and errors, despite declaring several times that he is now a foreign policy expert. Perhaps it is just the grueling campaign schedule, but what of the grueling schedule of a U.S. President?
Not yet 30, Evan Knappenberger has already lived several lives. His story destroys the U.S. government?s case against whistleblower Bradley Manning, exposes the toxic mix of fraud and incompetence that creates U.S. war policies, and highlights the[...]
Read The Full Article:
Zuccotti Park has re-opened. However, based upon new rules that have been posted by the private owners, police are searching everyone entering the park, and denying entrance to many who attempt to enter:(Think Progress/Yfrog)The rules say nothing about instruments, but police must have been concerned that this accordion contained a tent, since it was denied entrance:(@nyclu/Twitter)The rules also say nothing about food, but perhaps Brookfield properties thought some sort of living structure might be hidden inside mashed potatoes:But hey, who cares if the rules don't say anything about instruments and food not being allowed? A judicial order re-opened to protesters at 6:30 AM, and both the park owners and police kept is closed for nearly twelve hours anyway.
House and Senate agriculture committee chairs have been working feverishly to write the next farm bill in time to get it slipped into whatever deal the Super Congress concludes, thereby bypassing that whole annoying process of having public hearings and input on the next five years of agricultural policy.
The legislators are using the supercommittee to avoid what would be a more public, election-year debate in 2012, when the current farm bill expires and new legislation would be scheduled for writing, according to critics of the effort.
?We call it the secret farm bill,? said one environmental activist, who worries that if the lawmakers succeed, it will prop up U.S. farm payments through 2017.
Food writer and activist Mark Bittman has more.
The group of four is aiming at $23 billion in cuts, with around $14 billion coming from commodity subsidies, $6 billion from conservation programs, and the rest from nutrition programs like food stamps, now more important than ever. Everyone (almost literally) wants the restructuring of subsidies, but it sounds as if direct payments would be replaced by a new ?shallow-loss? protection plan, essentially free insurance that would cover revenue losses before the also heavily subsidized paid insurance kicks in. Replacing direct payments with shallow-loss protection may save some money, but does nothing to change the fact that the wrong people will get it.
And the devil is in the details. Will small and medium farms raising what are outrageously called "specialty crops" (fruits and vegetables!) be covered by shallow-loss? Will programs supporting new farms, local farms, organic food, access to real food by real people, be boosted? Probably not. [...]
The Republican plan, of course, is to use everything?including the farm bill?as a tool for cuts. But a farm bill that preserves the status quo instead of addressing a food system that causes disease and wrecks the environment isn?t even marginally serious about deficit reduction. By 2030 Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease will combine for costs of more than $1.5 trillion?not over 10 years but annually! Need I remind you that these are both preventable, diet-related diseases?
One thing we know Congress, and particularly the Republican caucus, is really bad at is connecting the dots and thinking ahead. The health effects, the environmental effects, the ripple effects in the economy of this massive bill are all things that continue to be overlooked and overshadowed by the interests of the usual winners in this bill.
What we don't know, though, is what's really going to be in the bill since they're going for a hurried, behind-closed-doors process here. That lack of transparency is a problem with the secret farm bill and a major problem with the Catfood Commission II as a whole. And it's just one more reason why the best outcome of the commission would be failure.
Since Newt Gingrich is now leading the Republican pack, it seems like an opportune time to question some of his campaign expenditures. Gingrich has long been a spendthrift which is why I laugh when he gets all blustery about spending in the Republican debates. Nevertheless, how a candidate manages money can be an indicator of what to expect from them while in office.
Some of Newt's usual spending has shifted from his old PAC over to his Presidential campaign committee. The private jet expenditures, for example, are still a major piece of his spending. In the second quarter, Newt ran up a bill of $503,877 with his old favorite, Moby Dick Airways. In the third quarter he seems to have stopped using Moby Dick, but is carrying debt of $451,946 with them.
I'm more interested in Newt's incredibly high web development expenses. Either I'm in the wrong business or he's overspending in a big way for web services. According to his third quarter report, the campaign made weekly payments of $10,000 to High Tech Win, LLC for "website development", with the exception of two payments in July for $20,000 each. The total paid in the third quarter to this vendor was $120,000. In the second quarter, the campaign paid $120,000 on June 13th, $50,000 on May 12th, $50,000 on May 17th, and $65,000 on May 26th for a total of $285,000. Remarkably, he had a total balance due of $497,059.90 at the end of the second quarter.
Nearly $500,000 to one vendor for website management? And that's not everything he spent on site development. He paid Rackspace $18,000 in the second quarter for hosting services, and a company called VM Media, Inc $210,250 for Q2 "website management". VM Media appears to be a company specializing in social media consulting run by Jim Eustace which specializes in microtargeting. Over $200,000 seems like a lot to pay for that, but at least it appears to be a legit operation.
On the other hand, High Tech Win, LLC is far more confusing. Here is a company profile. It describes High Tech Win, LLC as an appliance and home remodeling company? That doesn't sound like web development. High Tech Win's principal is H. Dale Langley, Jr., an Austin intellectual property lawyer*.
Finally, there were payments of $14,070 to 5EI, LLC for website development in the third quarter. This number sounds far closer to a realistic amount to pay for a candidate website. Adobe Systems was paid $14,448 in the third quarter, too.
Here's the thing: The Gingrich website isn't anything special. It's like a zillion other turnkey candidate websites. It's probably running on one of the open source platforms like Drupal. Astroturf organizations can set these things up out of the box for under $10,000, with domain and hosting included. I know this because I had to track too many of them during the health care debate. Most candidates do buy targeted Facebook and Google ads, but those payments go directly to Facebook and/or Google. And yes, most candidates also employ some sort of social media consultant but not for that kind of money. That expenditure raises a gigantic, bright-red flag.
Here is my question for Newt Gingrich. Why would Newt's campaign need to pay an intellectual property lawyer who seems to also run an appliance and home remodeling company almost $500,000 for website development? I think that's a question Newt should answer if he expects to be treated as a legitimate candidate in the Republican primary, don't you?
* [h/t Daily Kos diarist DemSign for the link]